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Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist

  

by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist Analysis

Literary Devices in Oliver Twist

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Fagin goes into "a maze of the mean dirty streets which abound in that close and densely-populated quarter" (19.4), and Sikes and Nancy drag Oliver "into a maze of dark, narrow courts (15.63). Just...

Setting

Heads up: this London is not the jolly tea-drinking paradise you might imagine. It's nasty. It's halfway between an open sewer and the hedge maze from The Shining. The city is repeatedly described...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator of Oliver Twist tends to be pretty hands-off. In general, we only get to see what’s going on in the heads of a very few characters (including Oliver, obviously). Particularly with th...

Genre

Broadly speaking, the genre of Oliver Twist is a novel... but we're probably not going to win any lit studies gold stars for that statement. Slightly more specifically, it’s a serial novel (meani...

Tone

Dickens uses a lot of really sharp irony in Oliver Twist to satirize the various institutions (the parish workhouse system, the justice system, the poor laws, etc.) that he thought were inhumane an...

Writing Style

Yeah, we just used a twenty-dollar word to describe Dickens’s style in Oliver Twist, but it’s appropriate because it’s just the kind of word he would use. Basically, we just mean that the nar...

What’s Up With the Title?

The "Oliver Twist" part is pretty obvious, so we won’t belabor that (see the "Character Analysis" and "Quotes" sections for more on Oliver’s name). But the subtitle could probably use more expl...

What’s Up With the Ending?

We're going to hand the mic to George Gissing, another Victorian novelist, who said that one "blemish" of Oliver Twist as a novel was "the feeble idyllicism of the Maylie group." What does he mean...

Plot Analysis

Oliver is brought up at the workhouse, and then sent to Sowerberry’s to be apprenticed, and finally runs away.Oliver is on his own from the start. No one pities him, and even though he’s suppos...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Oliver is shuffled from one scene of misery to the next, and finally ends up at Mr. Sowerberry’s.Things can’t get much worse for Oliver when he leaves the workhouse—or so you might think. Mr...

Three Act Plot Analysis

From the beginning until the moment that Oliver is first arrested as a thief.Includes Oliver’s friendship with Mr. Brownlow and his kidnapping by Nancy and Sikes, lasting until the attempted robb...

Trivia

Pentonville, the suburb where Mr. Brownlow lives, wasn’t a random choice on Dickens’s part. George Cruikshank, the illustrator of Oliver Twist and a buddy of Dickens’s, lived ther...

Steaminess Rating

For a book with as many prostitutes as this one has, there are remarkably few sex scenes. We assume that Nancy is a prostitute (Dickens never actually comes out and says it) and that Bill Sikes is...

Allusions

John Milton, Paradise Lost. (2.1). "Finding in the lowest depth a deeper still" echoes the line in Paradise Lost IV, 75-8 where Satan says, "Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell; / And in the lo...

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